A view of world cup commentators from an Arsenal perspective.
By Rob Lackey
I travel a lot, consequently I usually watch games with foreign commentary or often listen in the car to 5 live. 5 Live can truly suck when it comes to football commentary, but often excels in almost all other areas.
I was driving back from the airport last night listening to the France-Switzerland game, covered by Simon Brotherton and Pat Nevin, hoping to kill a few hours, but deep down expecting to have to turn off the radio at some point in disappointment. How wrong was I? Not only was it a cracking game, but Simon and Pat made it really come alive with enthusiasm and genuine insight. They were full praise where earned, and criticism where deserved.
Not only that, but Pat Nevin was bewitched by a certain muscular, powerful, incisive forward, with the skills to match, a player he named his man of the match; a player that whilst undoubtedly had the skill when he joined the premier league, now had the physicality to match, won every header and bossed the Swiss defence. No snide backhanded Arsenal abuse regarding Djourou and Senderos, just great enthusiasm for a player at the top of his game. Thanks Mr Nevin, tonight you earned your corn.
The next segment, hosted by Mark Chapman, with Neil Ashton, Tim Vickery and Danny Mills was a bit of a wash up on what went wrong for England, and there some valid comments, and the usual stark ravings. Neil and Tim (who I’ve been especially impressed with this World Cup) had some intelligent comments, however it appeared (allegedly) that Mr Mills had not taken his medication.
Not Roy’s fault with tactics or team – he was pressurised to change the team and tactics by the media and fans; ignoring that at 66 Mr Hodgson perhaps knows his own mind , and with his CV is not going to bow to outside pressure. And if he did bow to pressure, he needs to walk anyway.
English players don’t want the ball and can’t hold onto it and until they do like Spain we’re never going to get there (Spain, who are on the way home). What about Jack someone asked, but no, he’s not match fit, as he talked over anyone who’s opinion did not suit the FA Panel chip in his head. What about the Southampton or Arsenal players I thought?, they were quite keen to keep possession of that round thing, but no, we don’t produce those sort of players.
Our leagues are awash with foreigners, stopping any decent players emerging, so Roy had nothing to work with, ignoring that Costa Rica and Uruguay had mediocre at best teams, but actually used tactics.
Man for man, Uruguay and Italy were far superior to us which is why then won. Really? Stop ferret face and you stop Uruguay; you know, that bloke who was top scorer in the premier league that they had ALL played against this season – only there appeared to be no plan to mark him.
There was more, but thankfully I reached home before I head butted the prehistoric AM radio to death in my ancient Hilux. Yes I was tired, and yes I had just been served up Radio equivalent of Brew Dog Tactical Nuclear Penguin before being handed the Mr Mill’s Kofola enema, but still, is it that unreasonable to expect a level of connection to reality from those who my licence fee is paying?
I truly weep for the future when blinkered, ignorant, poorly thought out half baked theories are touted around by those not fit to wash the jockstraps of the great managers and players of our time. Theories that become strategies delivered by those of minor or average at best talents, yet this is what the FA are serving up to us via their panel of experts for the future of our game.
And while I’m at it, we’re out of the World Cup because we turned up with no tactics, and no ball winners on the pitch (except Danny Welbeck it seems), and didn’t bother protecting the crapest defence in generations. No we didn’t have the team to win it, but neither do Costa Rica, but at least they’ll go home with dignity and respect.
And Roy, don’t you dare injure Jack or Chambo in the last pointless game.
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